SOCHI, Russia — Eagle Mountain resident Noelle Pikus-Pace certainly lives an untraditional lifestyle.
She is part mother, part wife, and part Olympic athlete, competing for the United States in skeleton. After missing out on medaling in Vancouver, Pikus-Pace thought her Olympic dreams might have been over — a thought she initially accepted.
“I was ready to cut up oranges and go to my kids' soccer games and join the PTA and do all these other things,” said Pikus-Pace, who had one child at the time. “I had this vision of my life without sport and it was happy.”
Slowly, her attitude toward competing again changed, and it came to a head in the summer of 2012, when a single moment made Pikus-Pace realize how much she loved the sport.
“My husband said, ‘Do you think you'll have any regrets? Do you still love skeleton,’" she stated. “And, I said 'absolutely.'”
Pikus-Pace made the decision to train for one last shot at an Olympic medal, and chose to include her family, with two children, 6-year-old Laycee and 2-year-old Trayson.
“(My husband) said ‘Well, what would it take to bring you back,’” she said. “And I said I’d go back if we could all do this together.”
Pikus-Pace, who took fourth in Vancouver by a one-tenth of a second, said motherhood has given her an extra dimension in her competitive life.
“I feel like I became a better athlete after I became a mother because I've learned so many different things,” she said. “Being an athlete is about being so selfish. There’s just this list of things about me, me, me, me, me, and when you're a mom it's so the opposite.”
Pikus-Pace said she’s been careful to put her focus on taking care of her family.
“If I'm with my kids I'm not thinking about the track," she said. "I'm not thinking about sliding. In toning that down and putting that as a priority, my family will never be topped. It will never be beat.”